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Supermarket giants at odds over development
TWO supermarket giants could lock horns over multi-million expansion plans for Tesco and Bicester Village.
The move comes after Tesco announced it planned to build a new superstore, twice the size of its current Pingle Drive shop, on land off the A41.
Bicester Village would open a further 30 shops on Tesco’s current site on the opposite side of the A41 once it has moved.
Plans also include £11m of road improvements to the A41, Oxford Road and Pingle Drive, and the development would bring 3,500 new jobs.
But Sainsbury’s, which is in the process of a £70m redevelopment of Bicester town centre, including a supermarket, cinema and shops, warned it would look “carefully at the potential implications of Tesco’s proposals”.
But the feeling from townspeople, who got a first glimpse of the proposals at exhibitions on Friday, was a definite thumbs up.
Resident Sallie Wright, who has campaigned for road improvements around the Pingle Drive entrance, said the plans looked “brilliant”.
She said: It’s just a shame it isn’t happening sooner.”
Sally Styles, of Bicester, said: “I think it looks really good. We have been struggling because the current Tesco is too small.”
And Barry Larner, of Bicester, also welcomed the plans.
He said: “It looks like when it’s all completed it will do what it’s supposed to do and reduce traffic.”
Last year it emerged Tesco was one of the main objectors to the town centre redevelopment, but the two sides agreed an undisclosed deal at the start of the public inquiry.
A Sainsbury’s spokesman said: “We have been working with the District Council for several years on this project, which will make the town centre a more attractive destination and benefit existing town centre businesses.
"Whilst the highway works promised by Tesco might appear attractive, it is important that their plans for a larger store near to Bicester Village do not undermine what we are trying to achieve in the town centre.”
Tesco declined to comment about Sainsbury’s statement.
People started queueing at 10.30am to see the exhibition, at the John Paul II Centre in The Causeway, and 113 people came through the door in the first hour.
Tesco spokesman Simon Peta said: “The response has been fantastic. People have asked about jobs and the additional choice in retail opportunities.”